Local Groups

Silver Creek Water Quality Project

Silver Creek Watershed

Northeast Iowa

Stream monitoring
Stream monitoring shows that reintroduced brook trout are now reproducing in Silver Creek.

Contact

Contact: Neil Shaffer - Project Coordinator Howard Soil and Water Conservation District

Phone: (563) 379-5233

Social Media:

Mission

Silver Creek Watershed is a 22,410 acre sub-watershed of the Upper Iowa River in northeast Howard County and northwest Winneshiek County. This project began in 2012 and since has invested over $8.3 million in conservation. Our goal is to reduce bacteria levels enough to remove the stream from the Iowa DNR 303(d) impaired waters list. We have not reached the goal yet, but we released 3,600 native brook trout fingerlings into the watershed in 2017. In 2019, fish surveys confirmed these trout have reached reproductive size and are naturally reproducing. The project is renowned for cover crop adoption by producers who, in fall 2022, will plant cover crops on 55.4% of row crop acres in the watershed. Over 15% of the watershed has been seeded to native prairie along the stream corridor. Without the willingness of 174 landowners to install 600+ best management practices in the watershed, it would not have been possible to see the significant water quality improvements to date.

Watershed or Service Area Map

About Us

Growing a Group:

  • Active group 5+ years
  • Book sharing
  • Farmer-led group
  • Formed a new group
  • Fundraising
  • Grant writing
  • Member-led project planning
  • Neighbor to neighbor mentoring
  • Personal invitations to neighbors to grow the group
  • Other

Collaboration:

  • Actively participated in local watershed planning process
  • Collaboration with agriculture or conservation organizations
  • Collaboration with local ag retailers and/or crop advisors
  • Collaboration with local civic groups
  • Collaboration with local college or university
  • Other

Outreach:

  • Engage local schools
  • Media interviews
  • Presentation to groups
  • Promotion to media outlets
  • Social media cultivation
  • Video Development
  • Website Development
  • Other

Land & Water:

  • Bioreactors
  • Cover crops
  • Crop diversification
  • Floodplain restoration
  • Grass waterways
  • Grazing
  • Nutrient management & retention
  • Perennial crops
  • Prairie strips
  • Saturated buffers
  • Stream buffers
  • Stream restoration
  • Water retention basins
  • Wetlands
  • Other

Assessment & Data:

  • Agronomic data collection
  • Field edge data collection
  • Field walkovers
  • Stream monitoring
  • Other

Events:

  • Fishing event
  • Farm field days
  • Paddle event
  • Upstream or downstream connections/visits
  • Booth at local event
  • Other

Program Participation:

  • Workshop
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Radio Podcast
  • Boots on the Ground Online Conversation
  • Group Presentation
  • Project Tour
  • Featured in a Story
  • Featured in a Video
  • Meetings
  • None

Additional Photos

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